Boulder, CO – In its 30th year, the 2016 Great American Beer Festival (GABF) competition awarded 286 medals to some of the best commercial breweries in the United States. Presented by the Brewers Association, GABF is the largest commercial beer competition in the world and a symbol of brewing excellence.

In a ceremony at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, prestigious gold, silver and bronze medals were awarded to winning breweries in 96 beer categories covering 161 different beer styles (including all subcategories), establishing the best examples of each style in the country.

mason-gabf-2Olde Hickory Brewery of Hickory, NC took home two medals. Known for their solid lineup of classic styles and barrel aged stouts, head brewer Steven Lyerly has been more experimental in recent years. A partnership with Olde Hickory Pro AM winner Alex Buerckholtz lead to Death by Hops, an imperial ipa, being added to the year round lineup. One-off projects like a saison aged in chardonnay barrels and a coffee ipa have given the brewers the chance to be creative and, surprise their long term fans with new tastes. But when submitting brews to the GABF, Olde Hickory stuck to their strengths- and it paid off.

Irish Walker, a barleywine style ale the brewery has been crafting since 2009, won a coveted Gold Medal in the Old Ale or Strong Ale category. This is not the first time Irish Walker has won a prestigious award. It also took home a silver in the 2013 GABF Old Ale or Strong Ale category and has been a frequent award winner in the biannual World Beer CupTM with Silver in 2010 and 2014 and Bronze in 2016 (Old Ale category).

Barrel aged beers, and especially barrel aged imperial stouts, have become incredibly popular the last several years. Olde Hickory’s The Event Horizon captured the judges’ attention in a crowded field, winning a Silver Medal in GABF’s competitive Barrel Aged Strong Stout category. NC beer enthusiasts will be excited to find that the Silver winner is being released the week of October 10th. They may be even more excited to learn that four variants of The Event Horizon, each aged with special additions, will be available for a brewery-only release on Nov. 12th at 9am. Called Spectrum, these four beers will be extremely limited in quantity and are expected to sell out very early.

More information about Olde Hickory Brewery, their beers, and the The Event Horizon – Spectrum release is available at Olde Hickory beers can be found at many bottle shops and restaurants, and all brews are at the brewery’s restaurant locations – Amos Howards, Olde Hickory Tap Room, and Olde Hickory Station. More information about the Great American Beer Festival® is available at

Photo: Kyle Goelling, Tim Tooker, Charlie Papazian (founder of
the Brewers Association), Mason Oliver, Matt Smith
(not pictured: Steven Lyerly, head brewer).